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Environmental Leadership Program

Environmental Leadership Program

 2011 – 2012

Annual Theme:

“Environmental Security in the 21st Century”

(participant list)



Program Objectives

This program provides a small group of Gettysburg students (limited to 10-12 students) with a unique opportunity to gain a greater understanding of environmental policy issues and to develop their leadership skills. These objectives are achieved through guided discussion sessions and readings, as well as real world experiences that are designed to expose students to environmental problems and solutions. Students are provided meaningful opportunities to interact with environmental policy leaders and to learn from leading scholars in the field.  The program is open to all students who have an interest in environmental issues, regardless of their major or previous course work. The substantive theme for the 2011-2012 program is “Environmental Security in the 21st Century.” Students will consider the security impact: of natural resource scarcity, climate change, energy dependence, and environmental extremism, as well as the environmental impact of military operations and training. 

Click here for a link to last year's program. 


Eisenhower Institute Fellow, Howard Ernst, Ph.D.

Howard Ernst is an associate professor of political science at the United States Naval Academy (where he teaches environmental policy and environmental security courses), Senior Scholar at University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, and Director of the Kohler Environmental Center in Wallingford, CT. He is the author of six books and is best known for his work in the area of environmental politics. His publications in this area have been adopted by environmental policy courses throughout the country and highlighted by numerous media outlets: including the Washington Post, National Public Radio and PBS Frontline. Professor Ernst will lead the program by delivering relevant lectures, guiding student discussions, organizing and attending field experiences, and facilitating the student research symposium.

Useful Links

Environmental Change and Security Program (Wilson Center): http://www.wilsoncenter.org/program/environmental-change-and-security-program

Institute for Environmental Security: http://www.envirosecurity.org/

Foundation for Environmental Security and Sustainability: http://www.fess-global.org/

Environmental Leadership Program

Program Components

The program is divided into three complementary parts: A) structured discussions and readings that provide students with the conceptual grounding necessary to understand the annual theme; B) field experiences that provide students exposure to people and issues related to the annual theme; and C) a student run symposium in which seminar participants present key findings from their research topic. 



A)    Lectures, Discussions, and Readings: Students are required to complete their assigned readings prior to each session. Each session begins with a brief lecture that introduces students to key concepts, followed by a directed discussion of the concepts.  The sessions will focus on four specific environmental security topics:


1)       Environmental Security Overview: Readings, lecture and discussion regarding the major ideas related to the field of environmental security.

Saturday, Sept 24, 2011 (12:00-2:00)



Homer-Dixon, Environment, Scarcity, and Violence (Princeton University Press, 1999).


2)      Environmental Extremism (Reconsidered): Readings, lecture and discussion concerning the philosophical foundations of radical environmental thought and the tactics of radical environmental groups, as well as discussion of law enforcement efforts against radical environmental groups in the Post-September 11th security climate.

Saturday, Oct 15, 2011 (10:00-12:00), Breidenbaugh Hall – room 205



Rik Scarce, Eco-Warriors: Understanding the Radical Environmental Movement (Left Coast Press, 2006).


Howard Ernst, “Assessing the Threat of Radical Environmental Groups” START Study (Unv. MD START, 2011). EMAILED TO STUDENTS


3)      Greening of the Pentagon? Readings, lecture and discussion concerning environmental programs currently underway within the Department of Defense (including a look at the impact of the U.S. Navy’s active sonar program on marine mammals and military cleanup efforts).  EMAILED TO STUDENTS

Saturday, Oct 29 (10:00-12:00), Breidenbaugh Hall – room 205



Judith Layzer, “Government Secrets at Rocky Flats” The Environmental Case, Second Edition (CQ Press 2006). 


4)      Environmental Security Case Studies: A short film and discussion concerning a major case related to environmental security.

Saturday, Nov. 12 (10:00-12:00), Breidenbaugh Hall – room 205




 Spring Semester

B) Experiential Learning: This aspect of the program provides seminar participants with direct exposure to environmental problems and meaningful access to policy makers. Only students who participate in the seminar’s lectures and discussions may attend the field experiences:


1)      SCUBA Certification Program begins (late January and runs through March) with York Divers (Jake Patton serving as project leader).

2)      Commander Claude Berube USN Lecture (2/29/12). EI dinner and the EI Environmental Leadership Lecture on Modern Piracy.  

3)      Spring Break Program, South Florida (March 10-15):

a.       Presentation by Scott Jones,  Program Director of The Smithsonian's Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystems Program in Belize. Smithsonian Marine Center, Hutchinson Island, FL. 

b.      Guided tour of Solid Waste Authority's integrated waste management system, waste to energy facility, and recycling operations (Palm Beach County). 

c.       Tour and research talk with researchers from South Florida Water Management District's Everglades research site located within the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in Boynton Beach called LILA. 

d.      Meeting with Len Lindahl, Vice President for the Florida Water Operations of AECOM USA, Inc.(www.aecom.com/What+We+Do/Water).  AECOM is a world leader in engineering design and is planning a key role in the Everglades Restoration Project, as well as major water projects (sewage, drinking water, habitat…) throughout Florida. 

e.      Additional field experiences include: twelve mile kayak ride through the Loxahatchee River, visit to the Busch Wildlife Preserve to visit endangered wildlife rescued from the state's illicit wildlife trade, tour the seat turtle hospital at the Loggerhead Marine Life Center, complete four open water dives.  


4)      CASI study (Community Adaptation to Sea-Level Rise and Inundation) in Annapolis MD (April 28, 2012). EI Environmental Leadership    participants will serve as research assistance for the CASI project. 


C)    Student Research Symposium: Each student will conduct at least one in-depth structured interview with a leading authority in the field of environmental security. Student researchers will summarize their findings in a structured research poster and publically present their findings at the end of the year symposium.   

(time and date to be announced)